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When to call your doctor in early pregnancy

Women who have certain pre-existing medical conditions – such as thyroid disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and/or lupus – should note any changes in their condition during pregnancy. “If your thyroid hormone levels are too high or too low, you may be at increased risk of miscarriage,” says Dr. Gayle Olson, a maternal-fetal specialist at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. “If your blood sugar isn’t tightly controlled, you may be at increased risk of miscarriage or fetal abnormalities. Any flare-up in an underlying condition is a red flag and should be followed.” Several other international news outlets included this health story from WebMD.

Curiosity, creativity and courage make a better world

“For those of you unfamiliar with Dr. Sir William Osler, he’s one of the most legendary figures in modern medicine, medical education, and the intersection of science and the humanities,” writes Dr. Victor S. Sierpina in his column. “His methods of clinical bedside teaching, the requirements for a college degree before medical school, two years of basic science followed by two clinical years as the core of medical school, and a progressive residency program were innovative, setting the standard for our current system of medical training over a century ago.”

Talking to your child about tragedy 101

After any disaster or crisis parents can start to talk to their children by asking them what they’ve seen or heard, writes Dr. Sally Robinson in her column. No matter what age the child is, it’s better to be straightforward and direct. It’s suggested that it’s best to share basic information but not graphic or unnecessary details. Keeping young children away from the repetitive graphic images and sounds that appear on television, radio, social media and computers is strongly suggested. Perhaps it’s better to record the news and watch it later or with your older children so it can be stopped and discussed.

Tongue-tie issues normally begin at birth

Tongue-tie is a condition that’s present at birth that restricts the tongue’s range of motion. Dr. Sally Robinson explains the condition.

Body odor directs our behavior

Body odor is usually a strange topic to talk about, but not for Drs. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel. Some new scientific work identified a body odor chemical produced by babies’ skin that makes men less aggressive and women more aggressive. Let’s bottle this scent.

UTMB researchers announce Nipah vaccine breakthrough

Scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch have developed a vaccine showing promising protection against Nipah, a zoonotic virus with a mortality rate as high as 70 percent. “Our data suggest that this vaccine can help rapidly generate protective immunity in humans against the virus,” said Dr. Courtney Woolsey, co-lead author of the researchers’ study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

You 'could' get second COVID booster, but should you?

The CDC said that you “could” receive a second booster shot but stopped short of saying that one “should.” They previously recommended that everyone 12 and older should receive the first booster for optimal protection. The benefit of a second booster isn’t as extreme, but it’s still there. Drs. Meagan Berman and Richard Rupp explore the issue in their Vaccine Smarts column.

Consider an integrative approach for your aching back

“My Tuesday morning acupuncture clinic is busier than ever,” writes Dr. Victor S. Sierpina in his column. “Medicare started paying for this effective, safe therapy for the specific diagnosis codes of chronic low back pain a couple of years ago. This was done after a review of evidence-based sources that showed positive, non-placebo effect of acupuncture on low back pain.”

Addressing climate change now will help our children

According to American Academy of Pediatrics, “climate change poses threat to human health, safety and security. Children are uniquely vulnerable to these threats. Given this knowledge failure to take prompt, substantive action would be an act of injustice to all children.” Dr. Sally Robinson discusses the health risk to children in her column.

Clean air is important for healthy children

Children who grew up in more polluted areas had an increased risk of having reduced lung growth which may never be recovered, writes Dr. Sally Robinson in her column. The average drop in lung function is similar to the impact of growing up in a home with parents who smoke.

Take the scenic route and enjoy what nature has to offer

A growing body of evidence shows that spending time outdoors can improve overall health and even prolong your life, Dr. Samuel Mathis writes in his column. One study found that spending 20 minutes outside can lower the stress hormone cortisol by 20 percent from baseline. The activity didn’t matter; rather, just the act of being outside improved people’s stress levels.

Knowledge is power as it relates to plastics

It has been reported that a single infant’s intake of microplastics from feeding bottles ranged from 14,600 to 4,500,000 particles. This enormous range of the number of particles shows the difficulty of measuring during early life and the difficulty of measuring such small particles, writes Dr. Sally Robinson in her regular column.

Exotic travel might require yellow fever vaccine

For those planning to safari in Sub-Saharan Africa or cruise the Amazon River, the yellow fever vaccine is a must. Drs. Megan Berman and Richard Rupp explain why in the latest Vaccine Smarts column.

Poor sleep is a risk factor for many medical problems

Chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndromes, sleep disorders like sleep apnea and restless legs, anxiety, medications, organ problems like a bladder issue — all these and more must be considered as part of assessing the cause of sleep problems and treating them. Dr. Victor S. Sierpina offers tips to help you get the sleep you need. One is to reduce screen time before bedtime, so go ahead and put your cell phone down now.

Galveston's St. Vincent's House opens faith-based medical clinic

Galveston’s St. Vincent’s House, working with the University of Texas Medical Branch, has opened this clinic for the most underserved on the island at Central Methodist Church, 3308 Ave. O 1/2. “Here, they are in a safe, trusted environment,” said Dr. Miles Farr. “Working alongside the church leadership is a key element to the success of this collaboration.”

What to eat before a workout

The U.K. news outlet talked to nutritionists and referenced a UTMB study in this feature. “Powders have a high concentration of protein and research conducted by the University of Texas Medical Branch found that a person can consume around 25g to 30g of protein per meal.”

Healing grief is a shared journey

“Confronting grief is a daily event in medical practice,” writes Dr. Victor S. Sierpina in his column. “Be there for those who grieve. You might not know what to say. That’s not important. Don’t run away because of your awkwardness or fear of saying something wrong or of your own pain. Be there for them. Healing grief is a group process and joined journey.”

Taste, food preferences might be shaped by genetics

Since the 1990s, scientists have known that some people are “supertasters” who experience many tastes with more intensity — sugar is sweeter and broccoli more bitter. As we begin to understand human genetics, scientists are finding biological foundations of different food likes and dislikes, Dr. Sally Robinson explains in her column.

Vampires and vaccines have long connection in history

In their Medical Discovery News Column, Drs. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel discuss a Dark Age precedent behind a conspiracy theory that the COVID-19 vaccine would transform people into vampires.

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